The internet is a wonderful thing, but at times it does a pretty darn good job of cultivating and perpetuating our fears – especially when it comes to kids. Example: A few weeks ago Charlie had a certain symptom (which I’ll spare you/him the details of because it had to do with his stool) that was kinda weird and WebMD diagnosed it as kidney failure. Now no matter how confident you are in your kids well-being, it is slightly disturbing to read those words. Take that “diagnosis” and add the fact that one of his parents is a bit more on the cautionary side, and what you get is a lot of unnecessary worry and doctor appointments. We went to the doctor and we were told that little chuckles was simply eating too much dairy after he had recouped from a virus. That appointment took 2 hours – from leaving the house to getting home. As a busy mom (all moms are busy, working or not) 2 hours out of your day is a huge bummer. Sure, I was glad to know that he wasn’t dying of kidney failure, but I kinda already knew that.
Enter Doctor On Demand – a virtual doctors visit, with a real bonafide, vetted and board-certified doctor, that you carry out from the convenience of your own home, available 24/7. It’s good, sound medical advice/diagnosis from a living human being, who knows/cares/is informed of your particular situation. Would I use it if he was coughing up blood? NO. This is not for any emergencies, or anything that you think could be life threatening. For me, it’s for the one million times that we are simply unsure if we need to go to the doctor (with the usual answer of: No, we don’t need to). It’s been a stress saver and a marriage mediator.
I didn’t know about this service until they reached out and since they did I have used it 3 times – because it’s so easy, inexpensive, and calming – especially with a toddler and a newborn.
Let me walk you through one of those scenarios:
We brought Elliot home on a Tuesday. On Wednesday Charlie started showing severe signs of a cold with quite a cough developing – runny nose, slight fever, aching, flem etc. The timing was less than ideal. Even I was worried she would get it (if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not the extra-worried parent). I kept telling myself that since I was breastfeeding she’d have a better chance of fighting it off. And keeping them apart wasn’t going to happen – we needed him to love her, not be told he has to stay away from her. I think Brian and I both knew that there was nothing to be done, but we also hadn’t been to the doctors with Charlie for a cold and cough in so long that maybe there is something we can give him now, to speed up the recovery process, that we couldn’t when he was younger and sick a year ago. So instead of going to the doctors with a newborn and a sick toddler (we had just gotten home from the hospital) we scheduled a Doctor On Demand appointment.
Poor little Charlie. A sick toddler is just so sad and pathetic.
The point of this video visit was to a.) Make sure that we knew everything we could do to prevent the cold from spreading and, b.) Ask if there was anything we could do for Charlie to help speed up his recovery or help him sleep better (so I didn’t have an emotional breakdown due to lack of sleep).
I logged onto the app and scheduled it for an hour later, although you can see a Dr. right away and average wait time is about 90 seconds. Once the appointment started (it lasts 15 minutes) I introduced Charlie and Elliot to our doctor, Dr. Tania Elliott and she asked us all a bunch of questions – the usual about the color of mucus, how long he’s been sick, whether his throat hurt, how often he was coughing, if he was coughing anything up, etc.
She then gave us her advice, and yes in this case it was what we already knew: To keep hands/faces/lips as clean as possible. To watch for fever/lethargy/ if the cough worsened, and to keep her as protected as possible. For Charlie she reminded us of the saline/Nose Frida situation, to watch his cough and mucus, and make sure that it doesn’t develop too much into his lungs. If we were desperate, to help him sleep with Motrin.
Dr. Tania was extremely friendly, professional, caring, and informative. Was it worth the $40 to get that advice? ABSOLUTELY. When you have a newborn and you are nervous (even as second parents) $40 is worth calming your fears.
Now, 4 days later when Elliot got that cold (at 9 days old) we went straight to the doctor – mainly to listen to her lungs to make sure they remained clear.
Interesting enough, the most frequent illness-related reason for a visit to the doctor’s office is a cough, and is associated with more than 90 medical conditions. It is not something that should be self-diagnosed and Doctor On Demand is the one of the most convenient ways to have it checked and treated.
Doctor On Demand is not trying to replace your actual doctor – nor is it trying to be an emergency room although there are a host of emergencies that can be treated through a video visit from your home, your office, or while on the road. According to research 70% of ER visits are non-emergent and an expensive visit to the ER can be avoided. Think about when you are traveling and you can’t see your doctor but you need a refill on your inhaler (that recently happened to me), or if your toddler has a cough every morning and you want to make sure it’s nothing serious. It gives you another option. Instead of going to urgent care you can do this from the comfort of your own home.
I had another appointment the other day to show them Elliot’s belly button which fell off at 5 days (typically its 10 – 20 days) and was bleeding more than I liked. We wanted to know if the bleeding was normal (it was), if it was looking like it was infected (it wasn’t) and how to help it heal (gauze, rubbing alcohol and letting it breathe). Much easier than driving to the doctor’s office and much more personal information than simply Googling it.
As a busy mom you want to make sure that you are properly caring for your kids, obviously, but wasting 2 hours at the doctors to be told that nothing is wrong is not an awesome option. Luckily, Doctor On Demand physicians can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications if needed for 18 of the top 20 conditions that are treated in urgent care or the ER. Both Brian and I get peace of mind and without a discussion where I feel like I’m being neglectful, and he feels like he’s overbearing.
Our friends over at Doctor On Demand have passed along the code: EMILYHENDERSON so that you can schedule your first video visit for free with a board certified physician, pediatrician, doctorate-level psychologist, or lactation consultants on your smartphone or computer. In an age where we constantly seem too “connected” to technology it is nice to know that there is a service out there that you can trust to instantly answer questions, alleviate fears, and help you spend one less moment on WebMD stressing that you or your child’s stomach ache/runny nose/cough is the beginning of the end. Besides, anything that allows me to spend one less moment in those sterile waiting rooms is a winner for me.